Collins monitoring youngsters' workloads as season winds down

Collins monitoring youngsters' workloads as season winds down

ATLANTA -- While Terry Collins wouldn't turn down a second-place finish for 2014, he said prior to Saturday's game with the Atlanta Braves that, on the whole, he's more concerned with some of his players finishing, period.

Just getting some of his younger players through the grind that is a complete 162-game season will be enough.

Tops upon his list were relievers Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. Familia has made 73 appearances and thrown 74 1/3 innings, while Mejia has made 59 appearances, going 89 2/3. Both are way over their career highs, as Mejia pitched in 33 games, going 39 innings in 2010, while Familia, a converted starter, has never made more than nine relief appearances in a season, doing that last season, while the most innings he's thrown in relief are 12 1/3 in 2012.

"It's always important to finish the season," said Collins. "I hate that you just have to shut guys down. In the case of Familia, Mejia, first full season, where they have gone through this whole 162 and tried to stay healthy, there's been some ups and downs for both of them. To be able to go into the wintertime saying, 'Hey, look, I'm OK. I can do this,' I think is huge for them. But we're going to be very careful."

As important as getting them through the year is how they respond for the following spring.

"It's what it is next year, when they come to Spring Training for the first time pitching in 70 games," Collins said. "Sometimes your arm just doesn't bounce back like you want it to. I've had some relievers in the past where they got in a lot of games and the next spring it took them a month to get their arm ready. So that is my biggest concern right now."

Familia, who threw a perfect eighth with two strikeouts in Friday night's 5-0 victory over the Braves, was available Saturday, but will certainly get the day off Sunday if he should go.

Collins expressed similar wariness about position players wearing down, specifically catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who started Saturday, his 107th game of the season. Last year he played in 63 games total in the Majors and Minors, 31 with the Mets.

"We're talking about that with Travis d'Arnaud," Collins said of his starting catcher, who came into Saturday hitting .200 over his last 10 games (7-for-35). "To be honest, you can tell by a lot of things, that this guy hasn't caught this many games in three years, let alone to do it one season. He should be tired. So there's a lot of these young guys we're trying to police their work these last couple of weeks."

Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.